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Defence Secretary backs former PM May as future Nato chief

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 6/13/2021 Trevor Marshallsea
Theresa May wearing a blue shirt: Theresa May has been tipped as a future head of Nato (Stefan Rousseau/PA) © PA Wire Theresa May has been tipped as a future head of Nato (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has given his support to former prime minister Theresa May as the next head of Nato

Mr Wallace told Italian media that Mrs May would be an “excellent candidate” to lead the transatlantic defence alliance after its current chief Jens Stoltenberg steps down next year.

“Theresa May was a fantastic prime minister in really tough times,” Mr Wallace, who was a senior member of Mrs May’s cabinet, told the political magazine Formiche.

“I worked with her as the security minister. She would be an excellent candidate.”

We (UK) always want to play a vital role in the alliance. But there are many other nations and what is important for Nato is to work unanimously

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

Mr Wallace said the UK Government had yet to propose a candidate to possibly replace Mr Stoltenberg, adding: “We have a lot of work to do, like in Afghanistan, before we think about this.”

While stressing the process to select a new leader, who must be acceptable to all 30 Nato member nations, was at an early stage, Mr Wallace said the UK would always want to play a “vital role” in the alliance.

“The UK is one of the main contributors to Nato, the country in Europe that spends the most. Of course, we always want to play a vital role in the alliance. But there are many other nations and what is important for Nato is to work unanimously,” he told the magazine.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph has reported former Tory leader William Hague ex-cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill and Mr Wallace himself are also being discussed as potential British candidates for the role.

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